29 July - 4 August
Australia's Anglican Primate rebukes Gafcon over plans for its own diocese; this year's Melbourne Synod to be wholly online; Archbishop Freier backs Anglican Overseas Aid appeal for Myanmar; Tim Costello on plans to scrap the Lord's Prayer in Victoria's Parliament and Greg Sheridan on revelations about the PM's faith in his latest book... and much more.
August 4 2021
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Gafcon Australia has formally begun planning a breakaway diocese outside the Anglican Church of Australia, a move that has drawn a sharp rebuke from the Anglican Primate, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith of Adelaide.
Melbourne Synod is to be held in an entirely online format when it meets in October as a result of Victoria’s repeated coronavirus lockdowns, the most recent of which placed some Anglican clergy – as well as Trinity Grammar School Kew – into quarantine.
Archbishop Philip Freier reflects in his video last week that our COVID privations are minor compared with some of our neighbours, such as Indonesia and Myanmar. He notes the death from COVID of a much admired Christian leader in Yangon (Myanmar’s principal city), where the Church has been a source of solace to people in very trying times, and highly recommends the new COVID project in Myanmar run by Anglican Overseas Aid in Melbourne. The recent military coup has added to the gap between the care available to military leaders and the mass of the people. For example, only a few oxygen cylinders are in circulation in the whole country. The resources Anglican Overseas Aid hopes to provide should make a significant difference. Many Melbourne Anglicans have dug deep to help others through the pandemic, and the need has not diminished, Dr Freier says.
Listen to the Revd Tim Costello on ABC Radio’s Breakfast with Sammy J about the latest attempt to abolish the Lord’s Prayer being said at the start of sitting days in the Victorian Parliament.
While it is not at all a surprise that Intimate Partner Violence exists in some form in a church that welcomes all comers, the prevalence of the abuse among Anglicans is alarming. Especially concerning is the finding that Biblical teachings related to marriage, gender roles and forgiveness are sometimes used and distorted by perpetrators in a manner that turbocharges already incendiary situations, adding to the anguish and suffering of victims.
Watch a discussion on ABC-TV’s The Drum (from 43 minutes 35 seconds into the program) about Greg Sheridan’s latest book, Christians: The Urgent Case for Jesus in our World. Sheridan, from The Australian, and other panellists discuss revelations in the book about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Pentecostal faith, to what extent it affects his decision-making and how Australians respond to their leaders’ religious beliefs.
Watch Bishop Richard Treloar of Gippsland speak about safe ministry, acknowledging that requirements under civil and church law can seem onerous and even intrusive but that measures to ensure safe ministry are essential tools of ministry. “Good news is not always nice news or easy news and discipleship carries its costs, as we know,” he says.
The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral London, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, is to retire in September 2022. Dr Ison will be 68 upon his retirement and will have served at the Cathedral for 10 years. Bishop Sarah Mullally of London paid tribute to Dr Ison, especially for his commitment and thoughtfulness during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It has been inspiring to see how he and his team of staff and volunteers have met the challenge through tirelessly supporting communities across London and ensuring the Cathedral has remained an important place of hope and thanksgiving,” Bishop Mullally said.
Scientists have “discovered” Britain’s oldest large-scale stained-glass works of art in Canterbury Cathedral. Their tests reveal that stained-glass figures portraying four ancestors of Christ were made for a rebuild of the eastern half of the cathedral in the early-to-mid-12th century. Before the scientific tests, experts had no way of determining the age of the figures. The new scientific and historical research also tells a story involving aspects of ancient Egypt, Imperial Rome, and English Puritan iconoclasm.
A veteran US journalist Jack Thomas contemplates his imminent death and what he will miss. “I was raised Episcopalian, though I didn’t turn out to be a very good one. Unlike Roman Catholics, Jews, and atheists, we Episcopalians are very good at fence-sitting. We embrace all viewpoints, and as a result, we are as confused as the Unitarians,” he writes in The Boston Globe. “… As death draws near, I feel the same uncomfortable transition I experienced when I was a teenager at Brantwood Camp in Peterborough, New Hampshire, packing up to go home after a grand summer. I’m not sure what awaits me when I get home, but this has certainly been an exciting experience … I just wish I could stay a little longer.”